Writing a Summary

1. Read and understand the prompt or writing directions. What are you being asked to write about?

Example: Summary of an Article

Write a summary of the article. Your writing will be scored on how well you:  state the main ideas of the article;  identify the most important details that support the main ideas; • write your summary in your own words, except for quotations; and express the underlying meaning of the article, not just the superficial details.

2. Read, think about, and understand the text. Review the material to make sure you know it well. Use a dictionary or context clues to figure out the meaning of any important words that you don’t know.

3. Take notes. Write down the main ideas and important details of the article.

4. Write a thesis statement. In a single sentence, state the main idea of the article. The thesis statement should mention the underlying meaning of the article, not just the superficial details.

5. Organize and outline ideas. Write down the important details you need to include in the summary. Put them in a logical order.

Topic Sentence:





6. Write your essay. Your summary should be about one third of the length of the original article. Focus on the main point of the article and the most important details. Use your own words; avoid copying phrases and sentences from the article unless they’re-direct quotations.

7. Revise. Have you indented all paragraphs? Have you captured the main point of the article? Have you included the most important details? Is there sentence variety? Have you avoided writing short, choppy sentences? Are there transitional words and phrases to connect ideas?

8. Proofread and edit. Check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Is the verb tense consistent? Are all names spelled correctly and capitalized? Have you avoided writing run-on sentences and sentence fragments?

9. Write your draft. Use blue or black ink. Skip lines. Write on one side of the paper only. Include a title on the top line.

10. Read your summary one last time before you turn it in. Look for careless spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors, especially omitted words or letters. Cross out errors neatly with a single line and write the correction above.